WILLIAM WETMORE STORY and His Friends. In Two Volumes. Henry James.

WILLIAM WETMORE STORY and His Friends. In Two Volumes.

From Letters, Diaries, and Recollections. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1903. Original dark green cloth.

First American Edition, first state, of this bibliographically-complex biography by James. William Wetmore Story (1819-1895) graduated from Harvard College in 1838 and Harvard Law School in 1840, but after practicing under his father for a decade, in 1850 he moved permanently to Rome to follow his real passion, sculpture. HJ had met Story in Rome in the 1870s. After Story's death, his family asked HJ to write a biography -- which HJ did, but with difficulty, because he thought Story was more of a wealthy dilettante than an accomplished artist. Hence the "and His Friends" -- HJ concentrated on Robert and Elizabeth Browning, James Russell Lowell, and others of greater fame than Story.

According to E&L, a total of about 2250 sets were printed by Blackwood in five indistinguishable printings, and of these, 1800 were exported to the U.S. and issued with Houghton Mifflin title pages dated either 1903 or 1904 -- leaving 450 with Blackwood title pages. (According to Blanck, the exact numbers were 2218 and 1780, leaving 438 Blackwood copies.) Blanck describes two different settings of print for Vol I signatures A through Q, with many minor differences between the two; Blanck postulates that setting "A" probably preceded setting "B" (since the 1904-dated American copies have setting "B" -- also because one variation, the word "ex-tremly" on p. 158, is misspelled in "A" but is correct in "B").

In any event, this set is dated 1903, and Vol I A-Q is in "Setting A" -- the presumed first state. This set is in near-fine condition -- it would be fine, except for moderate foxing on the leaves. Edel & Laurence A59b; Blanck 10655. Item #15019

Price: $225.00

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